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[dong-guh, dawng-guh] /ˈdɒŋ gə, ˈdɔŋ gə/
(in an ice shelf) a small ravine with steep sides.
(in South Africa) an eroded ravine; a dry watercourse.
Origin of donga
1875-80; < Nguni (compare Zulu u(lu)donga); perhaps directly < a pidginized form with loss of the class prefix, as Fanagalo donga Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for donga
Historical Examples
  • Thirty yards or so from this, and in the donga, lay the corpse of the Prince Imperial.

  • Then he remembered that in his eagerness to get out he had left his knob-kerrie in the donga.

    A Secret of the Lebombo Bertram Mitford
  • They also took refuge in the donga, and waited for better times.

    The Great Boer War Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The gallant fellow managed to crawl to the group of castaways in the donga.

    The Great Boer War Arthur Conan Doyle
  • There were only five or six of them, and they waited in a donga for reinforcements.

    Two Years on Trek

    Louis Eugne du Moulin
  • Mr. Quatermain has just said that the donga was filled by a roaring torrent.

    Old Friends Andrew Lang
  • Just by the ambulance waggon he disappeared in a donga leading to the valley.

    On Commando

    Dietlof Van Warmelo
  • After a while one of the men wounded a buck, and they both rode into the donga after it.

    On Commando

    Dietlof Van Warmelo
  • I rode back to the donga, and deliberated on the course to take.

    On Commando

    Dietlof Van Warmelo
  • Then suddenly the retiring Riflemen sprang up and ran for shelter in our donga.

    London to Ladysmith via Pretoria Winston Spencer Churchill
British Dictionary definitions for donga


(South African & Austral, NZ) a steep-sided gully created by soil erosion
Word Origin
C19: Afrikaans, from Nguni donga washed out gully


(in Papua New Guinea) a house or shelter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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